Thursday, 20 November 2008

Thanks Indie Quarter!

For those of you who haven't seen it, Indie Quater is a great blog about design. It's beautifully designed itself, which makes it a pleasure to read. Check it out here.
They were kind enough to run a feature on my etsy shop as part of their stocking filler features before Christmas. You can see that article here.
This week has been quite busy so far in my shop; evidently other people are more organized than I am when it comes to Christmas shopping...
I have added a couple of new pieces this week, and they are selling fast! One I am particularly pleased with is this Blue Lagoon droplet dish.
I have a bad habit of smashing wine glasses, but at least I can recycle them by putting them in the bottom of things in the kiln to create this pretty crystalline effect!

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

A pocket full of posies

Welcome to my day.... Things are set to get more and more manic today, I can feel it...
I was lucky enough to be featured in an article in etsy's storque magazine which is shown on their front page, and goes out by email. Read it here.
Great publicity, especially as the piece they picked is in an article where it is suggested in a gift guide.

Here's a new piece I have just uploaded to my shop; a pocket full of posies!

Each little flower was stamped by hand into the clay whilst it was still soft, and then the circle was dropped into a mold.
I am also pleased with the glaze, as I mixed it myself, making it a little more individual than shop bought glazes.
Comments welcome!

Friday, 14 November 2008


Waterlilies are gorgeous hey? They look so delicate floating on the water...
I made these ones with white clay and recycled glass in the bottoms. The bases are curved, so that they look like they're floating even on a table.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008


Here are some images of work I have made that has been influenced by textiles. This bowl was a bit of a labour of love, and was far more difficult to make than I originally anticipated... After several broken attempts, finally I got the technique right, and it was worth the effort!
Other ways in which I have combined textiles and pottery have been to roll fabric and lace into the surface of clay to create pattern and texture. Sometimes I have used the resulting slabs to create vases (like in the detail image below) and plant pots. At other times, I have cut the slabs into little shapes, and used these to make jewellery and buttons.

I first began working with lace for quite sentimental reasons. The lace imprint you see above was actually made by my grandmother. After her death, I felt quite sad that I had not learned how to make it with her, so I decided to get as much mileage as possible out of her work! After that, I found that for jewellery even finer detail was possible to use, and began rolling delicate embroidery into the surface of porcelain to get fine detail with a vintage feel. I particularly enjoy mixing the vintage texture with a contemporary shape such as the bird brooch below...

As always, comments welcome!

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Back from my break...

and fighting a cold with some chilli and lentil soup...
Here are some photos from September's pottery workshop at the Heritage Open Days in Liverpool.

The workshops were a great success, and the children who participated made some amazing artwork. Little ones love to get their hands into mud! At times we had to ask people to come back later, as there were more children than we could cope with!
We had a range of shapes for them to cut out of rolled out clay, and then they decorated them by stamping in texture, cutting out shapes with biscuit cutters, pressing in their hands, or drawing into the surface of the clay with pencils. The football shirt shape was a big hit with the boys, and the girls made some gorgeous hearts and flowers.

I was able to fire some of the pieces and send them by post to the children. We pierced little holes near the top so that they can be hung on the wall by ribbon, and I think they'll make lovely artworks in the artists' homes. The fired pieces can be painted with acrylics or just left as they are.
A big big thank you to those who helped me on the day, and to John for the invite.
The Heritage Open Days were organized to raise funds for the renovation of the Old Christ Church in Crosby, and the building is spectacular. They are holding a Christmas fair on 22nd November, and I would recommend anyone in the area to go and check out the building and perhaps buy a couple of Christmas presents.
They are hoping to run some more craft activity days in the Spring, so all being well I'll be back there for those.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Chasing chickens

Here are some of my recent bowls, flocks of little chicks chasing each other in a spiral around a bowl... Or should that be a brood rather than a flock?
Either way, I think they've come out pretty well...

100% organic free range chickens, no battery hens here guys...
Comments welcome!

Sunday, 28 September 2008

These two belong together....

How could I separate them? I've noticed a few people have been buying the lovebird bowls in twos, so this time I thought I'd try listing them on my shop as a single item... We'll see what happens. I think they look good together!

Friday, 26 September 2008

The first autumn leaves are falling...

so here is my new falling leaf dish...
I stamped each little leaf into the surface individually and rubbed in some black iron oxide to bring out the texture before glazing over the top. This one's the first, but I'm experimenting with some red iron oxide in a similar one to see if that gives a warmer autumnal shade.
I thought this shape of bowl would be good as a soap dish or trinket holder.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Eat your heart out...

I've made improvements to my Eat your heart out plates, with a new, slightly larger stamp for the hearts, and a gorgeous glossy glaze for over the top. This one is a more generous size than the previous ones. At seven inches diameter, I think it's a better size for a larger dessert or a sandwich. Having said that, the smaller ones were very cute, so I think I'll make some more of those as well soon.

I've also changed the stamp to the larger one in the full of love bowls and the big love bowls. What do you think?

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

I just can't wait...

to open my kiln today! I mean really, the suspense is killing me. I have tried getting on with other things, tried to think about something else and succeeded for the most part, but I keep finding myself from time to time standing in front of it, gazing at the temperature numbers and wishing they were smaller... Patience is something you definitely need to be a good potter, and whilst most of the time I manage it, some days I just CAN'T WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Turning over a new leaf..

Leaves have been on my mind lately... They're starting to drop from the trees as autumn approaches, but some things are still growing and producing new leaves. Taking this as inspiration, I've been making some leaf inspired pots; some clinging on to summer's freshness and others embracing autumn's arrival.
Here are some pics of one of the summery ones which I've just added to my shop - New leaf
I'll post some pics of the autumnal ones soon...
As always, comments are welcome!

Monday, 22 September 2008

Little lotus

One new addition to my etsy shop this week has been this Little lotus bowl. I'm really pleased with how this little piece came out, and the glaze I used was one that I mixed up myself, so it is unique. I have been experimenting recently with altering clear glazes by adding cobalt, iron and/or copper oxides, and I'm finding it pretty exciting. Shop bought glazes are great, but there is something wonderful about mixing it up like a painter would, and getting something unique. Of course it's much trickier than painting; pink powder turns deep blue, black comes out brown or bronze etc. - there's often a surprise when the kiln opens!
The other thing I love about the Lotus is how delicate the form is. It was very tricky to make and so I don't think I'll make any more, not because I don't love it, but simply because it was far too labour intensive. So this little Lotus really is one of a kind.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Say hello....

to Kenny the kiln!
Here's a pic of my first test firing.... All the tests came out perfectly. (Other pots were placed lower down on separate shelves) What a relief... So it's holiday season over for now, and back to work in a slightly frantic, frustrated OCD way. It's great to be making again after a break, and very exciting to have Kenny here.
I'm looking forward to the coming weekend, when I will be doing a pottery demonstration/workshop in Liverpool. It'll be great to encourage people to get some clay under their fingernails! It's always fantastic to see what people make when they start playing, so I'm excited about that... Wish me luck!

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Eat your heart out...

Oh I am so easily amused with a good pun. This one got me to thinking about other daft objects I have made.... The butt out ashtray for example. I'd make more, but my age old battle with nicotine addiction makes me feel like it's just bad karma to encourage smoking by making such fantastic accessories... I can't tell you about the other ideas I've had along the same lines; you'll just have to wait until they're made... I know it's gonna be tough but try and hold on!

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Nice weather for ducks...

I think I am in the eye of the storm - simultaneous thunder and lightening and the biggest raindrops in the history of raindrops. Mmmmm, I love a good storm, very dramatic!
Today was going to be summery outdoor activity with friends, but... So anyway I have taken the opportunity to upload a few things to my shop...

This one's inspired by Tudor architecture, and has little piercings to make it extra pretty if you use it to hold a candle.

Next up is this droplet bowl in watery colours with a recycled glass pool in the bottom... seemed appropriate for today's climate.

And then, speaking of birds that like water...

here's my little love bird soap dish! All of these activities (including blogging) have provided me with a great excuse not to make a final decision about which shiny hunk is to become Kenny, King of Kilns!!!!! I can no longer avoid the decision, so I'm off now to do the maths...

Saturday, 5 July 2008

By popular request....

here is the first of my new bird brooches. It was made by rolling antique embroidery into porcelain and then was cut out by hand, fired and glazed with cobalt blue. I was aiming for a piece that was feminine, but would be easy to wear and look good with jeans. I love porcelain! It picks up even the most delicate textures. The embroidery I used came from a piece stitched by my great aunt who died before I was born.... I hope she'd have liked this little bird.

Friday, 4 July 2008

Picking a kiln...

is a tricky business. By chance I ran into someone today who has the same type of kiln that I was looking at yesterday, and she was enthusiastic about its performance. Having narrowed it down to a type, I just need to figure out exactly which of my 3 shortlisted candidates will come home to be christened Kenny, King of Kilns!!
I can't wait to get it all sorted out, as I'm itching to make a ton of stuff. However, it is probably for the best that I take a break from making for a week at least, as I now have quite a few pieces to upload to my shop... I have started to clear this backlog, and here's one of the new pieces uploaded today...

It's a Mountain lagoon bowl, so called because it has a pool of recycled glass in the bottom of it. Comments/critique welcome!

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Another bird or two

flew out of the kiln this week, and here's the first one to be uploaded to my shop... introducing the starry eyed blackbird!

I think there's a little bit of rock star attitude about this one. It's a bit of a rebel. Reminds me of Amy Winehouse for some reason. Just needs a cig in it's beak, a bouffant hairdo, a bit of a tat and we'd be there... Or is that just my overactive imagination?

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

This curvy little number...

was inspired by some sunbaked mud I found on the beach in Brazil...

some of which had curled and formed organic shapes. Some had curled even more than these, and I wanted to recreate some of the shapes. I added deep orange red to the inside to create emphasize the warmth of the originals and their environment.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

I have made...

some more poppy bowls. Is there a name for this urge? Compulsive poppy bowl making syndrome? Some call it OCD, I call it passion...
Anyway, my digression aside, here they are-

I've experimented with a different surface texture inside these ones and think it's quite effective. Also, they're larger than the last ones, so they feel a little more substantial, and are better for holding a floating candle or wrapped shiny sweets. That is if you can bear to cover up the inside! They're pretty just as sculpture too...
As always, don't be shy now guys - what do you think?

Tuesday, 17 June 2008


are ace! I love my little stamps so much! I make them out of clay. I've used the one I used for this bowl quite a lot now, so I was very sorry when I chipped it yesterday... Perhaps it's a good thing. I've made a four matching bowls now, and a couple of shallower bowls/side plates using this imprint, so I can now honestly say that they are part of a limited number produced...

Monday, 16 June 2008

One little bird was never going to be enough...

So here are a couple more. Testing out different glazes has been great fun on these - the colour is really emphasized in a less is more kind of way. I love bright colours, but I often find that a little is enough. I am easily overwhelmed by it, and find that it works best often when it is shown off by a white or neutral contrast. That's not always the case, but often I find that's how it works for me. When I used to work as an interior designer, I found that one or two bright accessories in a room were often enough for a splash of colour, and I think that has influenced the way I approach it now. Maybe it's an English thing too. I really noticed when I was traveling that in tropical places, people wear more bright colours and even houses are painted in bright colours. Our environment influences the colours we pick, but then I think the shades around us influence us too. So I have injected a little more vibrancy to my recent work - summer's here, lets be cheery!

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Plant pots

were one of the first things I made out of clay. I made more and more, imprinting various things into the surface of clay slabs and then forming the pot. These are a few I made quite recently with plant material rolled in. Any bits of plant that are left in the slab simply burn out during firing. I love working this way, and a surprising amount of detail is created.

For these pots I used lavender and mint. I prefer to emphasize the texture by glazing only the details and the inside of the pot.
Comments welcome...

I was reminded recently

of a gorgeous project I did with some children to make plant pots for their dad's garden. We rolled out big slabs of clay, and the girls pressed their hands and feet in and wrote their names in.
I took the slabs away and curved them round to create the pots. It really doesn't get much sweeter than this - full credit to the girls for artistic ability and adding the cuteness factor! A big part of their strength as objects is in the fact that when they're older they'll make really adorable reminders of the girls' childhoods. (I emphasized this by writing the date in the clay on the inside.) Very sweet...

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Time for some cuteness!

The first of my new range of little bird bowls have come out and are gorgeous! Not very modest I know, but there you go, I love them!
The first one to be uploaded to my shop is this one, Little love bird. It's a little tiny one, so I would use this to keep rings in or use it for a tea light candle. It has little hearts stamped into the surface to create little wings which have been filled with my favourite glossy pinky red glaze.
As ever, feel free to share your opinion!

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

My new poppy bowls

came out of the kiln yesterday and I uploaded a couple of them to my shop. Out of the first test pieces, I was happy with these three...

and will be putting a couple more through before the end of the week. They are pinch pots, and each one is created in the palm of my hand from a single piece of clay. No molds or wheels are used. I have loved poppies since my degree show where I grew troughs of them and arranged the troughs as part of a sculptural installation piece. Clearly the intervening seven years in interior design have resulted in a less high brow/more practical object. The texture in the centre is created by drawing into the surface of the clay.
I used the same dark pink/red glossy glaze on each, but in varying amounts, and mixed it with various other things to emphasize the detail. All the ones that I was happy with were made using white grogged T material. (mmmm I love that clay!) Unfortunately, the ones I tried on the crank clay were horrible. The glazes just did not look good. I've tried an experiment on the crank again with a more orange red glaze that I'll get out of the kiln in a couple of days, so I'm hoping that will work better.
However, that said, I think I'll concentrate more on the combination above, as these really are quite beautiful with a candle in or just on their own. They're perfect for summer, but with gorgeous colour that would brighten up a winter's night too.

As ever, comments welcome...

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Summer's here!

Sitting by the river today in the sunshine watching the world go by was a real treat. It's been a weekend of fun and friends after a few weeks of being flat out! It was great to get these out of the kiln towards the end of the week, and they have now been uploaded to my shop. It had been a disappointing week in pottery in some ways, with crazy reactions and minor flaws making a couple of pieces unsaleable, but I was very happy with these two pieces. Both of them have the same crackled effect in the bottom, made with recycled glass from a wine bottle. Tomorrow I'll hopefully get the first few test pieces of my poppy head bowls out, and I am hoping they work well... fingers crossed! As always, feel free to give your opinion!

Thursday, 5 June 2008

The Caribbean blue droplet pot in my last post sold very quickly, and I am told it was featured on Etsy's front page, so that's a huge compliment! I also sold two of my lily pots, so I will definitely be making some more of those. I am currently working towards having a shared stand on 28th June with some fellow potters in Altrincham, Cheshire, more details to follow on that one, but in the meantime here are a couple of leaf inspired pots that are featured in my online shop this week...

I used recycled glass from wine bottles to create glossy crackled texture in both of them. Comments welcome!

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Here it is!

The same glaze as was used in the previous post, but now with more turquoise vibrancy. I like that it hasn't lost the subtleties of the original with its dark speckles. I'm very pleased with the effect, and I think the glaze works well with the recycled glass in the bottom. I've been trying to get a tropical sea effect, and so I've named this one Caribbean. This seemed like an appropriate shape for it- a water droplet shaped bowl. The great British summer is living up to its wet reputation at the moment, so I'm trying to add a little tropical colour to life! As always, if you're reading this, feel free to give your opinion...